How I Got The Shot

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Ever wish you could get a peek behind the lens of another photographer and watch them work?

That’s how I feel when I see a photo I admire.

In my “How I Got The Shot” series I provide a look into my thought process behind a particular image and share helpful tips for shooting and editing.

Shot with Canon 5D III and 35 mm 1.4 lens. Camera Settings: ISO 1600, f/3.2, SS 1/500

9 times out of 10 it’s the light that motivates me to grab my DSLR to capture a moment.  Well, the light plus someone I love.

I saw the light from the window behind my daughter, but I also saw the shadows to the right of her and thought I’d be able to use the shadows and the reflection on the floor to frame her and lead the eye toward her. 

I set my exposure on my daughter but slightly underexposed the photo on purpose because I knew the highlights from the window were going to be very bright.  I also hoped underexposing would give me darker shadow areas. 

I got down low in order to capture the floor and the reflection as part of the shot.  This helps draw the eye toward her. 

Here’s the SOOC (straight out of camera) photo: 

I shot it a wee bit crooked so I straightened it with a crop.  I cropped out the chair on the left in order to remove distractions and bring the focus in on the subject.  I also placed the subject along the rule of thirds line.

Editing Tips

The overall temperature of the image was too warm, so I lowered the temperature slider.

One factor when I’m shooting in this room of my home is the color of the walls.  When I repaint I’m going to tone down the yellow!

Color casts from walls are a common challenge, but there are ways to counteract that problem in Lightroom.  My first step in dealing with that was to lower the overall temperature.

I also lowered the highlights slider because I felt the brightness of the light coming in from the window was distracting.

Because I shot the image at ISO 1600 I had some noise in the shadow areas and on my subject so I raised the Luminance slider under the Detail panel to 15.

As you can see in the SOOC image, the shadow areas weren’t anywhere near as dark as I wanted them to be (and there was a roll of fabric leaning against the door!), so I used th graduated filter in Lightroom to bring the shadows and the exposure down in those darker areas of the image.

I then took the image into Photoshop to make a few final adjustments:

I used a Color Balance adjustment layer to pull more yellow out of the image.  I brushed that layer onto the white areas of the walls to make the whites look more white.

I also used the Color Balance adjustment layer to cool my subject (she was a little yellow, too).

Back in Lightroom, I used a radial filter to raise the exposure and contrast on my subject just a bit.  And I was done!

Related: Basic Photo Editing Tips

The vision in my mind’s eye was brought to life through the power of Lightroom and a little Photoshop!

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